In a summertime interview with the Chronicle, Group of 88 member Paula McClain, the newly elected chairwoman of Duke’s Academic Council, stated that
the consensus among many black professors that the University responded too slowly to the racial aspects of the case is “depressing and demoralizing for faculty.” No top administrator has met with members of the black faculty to explicitly address the issues broached by the lacrosse incident, she added.
But according to a University-prepared timeline of the administration’s actions, President Brodhead himself met with black faculty on April 3 to discuss the incident.
That meeting, it’s worth noting, occurred only three days before the Group of 88 issued its statement. No public record exists of what was discussed in the meeting, but it would seem as if McClain’s claim to the Chronicle was incorrect.
Indeed, the assertion that over the past 11 months, the Brodhead administration has paid insufficient attention to the recommendations of black faculty is hard to take seriously. The administration largely bowed to the demands of two black (Houston Baker and Wahneema Lubiano) and one white (Peter Wood) professors issued at the March 30 faculty meeting. Two of the five committees set up last April (the CCI and the Bowen/Chambers Committee) were explicitly oriented around a “diversity” agenda. The administration remained silent as Grant Farred preposterously alleged a “secret racism” among Duke students; it remained silent as Karla Holloway sent out an e-mail containing unsubstantiated, fifth-hand, slanderous allegations against Duke students.
Neither at the time nor since did McClain say what more she wanted the administration to do. McClain did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment.